Two home runs propel Catonsville past Lansdowne

Most baseball coaches would be extremely happy to start the last week of the regular season with a 9-3 victory, but Catonsville coach Rich Hambor still wants his squad to fine tune some little things before the postseason.

"We have to be getting better," said Hambor, after the Comets (10-5) defeated host Lansdowne (7-9) on Monday afternoon. "We want this to be one of our best games, but we've got to finish more, we've got to finish more innings better, we can't leave runs out there."


The Comets stranded nine base runners, but they took advantage of sloppy Lansdowne defense and they got two long balls.

After two pop ups dropped in foul ground in the top of the first inning, Catonsville's Cody Brick hit a two-run home run.


Brick did the same thing in the first inning of the Comets' 12-2 win over Perry Hall on April 26.

The Vikings got out of the inning when catcher Jacob Baney caught a pop up on an attempted squeeze bunt by Carl Baker and threw to third base for a double play.

Baker atoned for the missed bunt by striking out the side in the bottom of the first inning.

Catonsville southpaw pitcher Carl Baker, right, gets a slap on the hand from Sam Brown after he struck out the side in the first inning of the Comets' 9-3 win over Lansdowne. Baker improved to 5-0 on the mound this season.
Catonsville southpaw pitcher Carl Baker, right, gets a slap on the hand from Sam Brown after he struck out the side in the first inning of the Comets' 9-3 win over Lansdowne. Baker improved to 5-0 on the mound this season. (By Craig Clary / Baltimore Sun)

"Sometimes, I feel mad and sometimes I don't, I like to show my emotions, but when I go out on the mound, I like to bring it all and that way it gives me some emotion," said Baker, who improved to 5-0 on the hill this season.


In four innings, he allowed one run on four hits, while walking none and striking out five.

His toughest inning was the third when the Vikings cut the 2-0 lead in half.

Hunter Jackson led off with a triple and Chase Redden singled him home.

Dean Witt singled, putting runners at first and second.

Jerald Hurt fanned and Catonsville catcher Kyle Ryan made a tough catch on a foul pop by Jonah Baney in a swirling wind beside the screen.

Baker got out of the jam when Robert Sawyer lined out to Dallas Evans in center field.

He retired the final nine batters before leaving after four innings.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Comets gave reliever Ben Hall a five-run cushion when Mark Brady hit a grand slam to right-center field.

It was the sophomore shortstop's first varsity career homer.

"It was a little bit of a surprise," Hambor said. "On this field, anything can turn into a home run. He hit the ball hard and that thing just kept rolling out there and that is the advantage of this field for home and away teams."

His grand slam came after Nick Eiswert reached on an error and Brick and Adam Grace walked.

It was the third error in the first four innings and it helped make a hard-luck loser out of starting pitcher Hurt.

"It's the most errors we made since the second or third game of the year," Lansdowne coach Jared Gish said.

In 3 2/3 innings, Hurt allowed just three hits, while striking out seven, but the Brady slam ended his day.

He was relieved by Witt, who struck out five in the final 3 1/3 innings.

"Hurt is a very good pitcher and it took us a while to get to him and even when we did it was with two outs," Hambor said. "We've been hitting the ball a little bit lately, but we are still striking out too much and we are still leaving too many guys on base and that's something we have to fix in the next week and a half until the playoffs start."

The Comets, who finished with just five hits, added two runs in the top of the sixth and only got one hit in the inning.

Joey Harell was hit by a pitch with one out and Evans walked before Eiswert loaded the bases with a sharp single.

Bases loaded walks to Brick and Adam Grace brought in two runs.

Eiswert, a freshman, is currently batting .489 (22-for-45).

"He is hitting well," Hambor said. "You can't ask for anything more from a freshman."

He also got the final out of the game in relief of Hall, who tossed 2 2/3 one-hit innings, allowing two unearned runs.

"Eiswert hasn't thrown all year," Hambor said. "He's warmed up about four times, so I figured lets give him one shot here and it's good to get that first one out of the way."

Lansdowne got its final two runs when Hurt stole home in the sixth and Jackson scored on a wild pitch in the seventh.

A pair of errors led to the Comets final run in the seventh inning.

"We struggled the first few games of the year and then we had a bit of a meeting at one of our practices, found it, and have been playing well and today we fell apart again," said Gish, whose squad defeated Eastern Tech, Western Tech and Perry Hall since they lost to Catonsville, 6-2, on April 10.

They were only trailing unbeaten Dulaney, 4-2, after six innings before the Lions scored five in the seventh.

"We have potential, but there are some days we don't put it together, but we have a lot of skill," Gish said.

In addition to Hurt and Witt, the Vikings have gotten some solid pitching efforts from Jackson and Nick White.

"We have a lot of guys that have been sharing the wins," Gish said.

The Vikings close the regular season with games at Eastern Tech (May 2) and at home against Hereford (May 4).

Catonsville hosts Dulaney (May 2), travels to Winters Mill (May 3) and hosts Eastern Tech (May 4).

Hambor would like to see his team use those games to work on the little things, like executing bunts, to be prepared for the playoffs.

"We want to be able to do it [bunt], we want to win some playoffs games here," Hambor said. "Those games are usually 2-1, 4-3, 5-4, they are not going to be 18-12 playoffs games, we are not going to out-slug somebody, so we've got to be able to get one run every inning, any inning when we need it, no matter who is at bat."